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"The World," March 12 at Pickford Film Center

Posted on: March 6, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Masters of Asian Cinema: "The World" at Pickford Film Center

Still image from the film "The World" of a woman walking in front of a structure of columns holding a tarp over her head. Text says: "Masters of Asian Cinema: The World, Pickford Film Center."

The next Masters of Asian Cinema film is Jia Zhangke’s 2004 feature The World, which screens on Tuesday, March 12th at 6:30pm at Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay Street in Bellingham.  

The World is Jia’s fourth feature and the first to be officially approved for release in China.  Set and filmed in an actual theme park, The World explores the lives of young people working as everything from security guards to stage performers. This film is both about the rural-to-urban migrants who over the past few decades have formed an important part of China's story, and about working dead-end jobs while dreaming of a better life.

The World was the first of Jia’s films to be set outside his home province of Shanxi, and although this film operates on a somewhat wider stage, his realist focus on the lives of ordinary people from the provinces remains.  Before this film, Jia’s earlier work garnered him international attention on the festival circuit. His 2000 feature Platform  was the first to star Zhao Tao, who has appeared in every film since and who plays the lead in The World.  

“It is a deeply affecting film, anchored by Zhao Tao’s extraordinary range as an actor,” explained series curator and WWU librarian Jeff Purdue. “We’ll be screening Jia’s newest film Ash is Purest White in May, so this is a rare chance to see two wonderful films by one of the greatest of contemporary directors on the big screen here in Bellingham.”

Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters  of Asian Cinema series continues the rich tradition that began with the Masters of Japanese Cinema series, one of the Pickford's longest running and most popular series. Each film in the Masters of Asian Cinema series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators.

The World will be introduced by Roger Thompson, Professor of History at Western.  Professor Thompson has used this film and others by Jia Zhangke in “Film as History: The People’s Republic of China,” a course he first taught in 2016.  Professor Thompson specializes in modern Chinese history, and has written extensively on Jia’s home province of Shanxi and its relationship with the West.

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Women in High Places: To Annapurna and Beyond

Posted on: February 12, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Women in High Places: To Annapurna and Beyond

Photo collage of three different images of Arelene Blum, one on a mountain, one climbing a mountain, and one a close-up of her face.

Biophysical chemist, author, and mountaineer Arlene Blum will give a talk entitled “Women in High Places: To Annapurna and Beyond,” at Western Libraries at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, February 25, in the Reading Room (Wilson Library 4th Floor Central). This event is free and open to the public, and includes a reception with light refreshments.

Blum is the author of Annapurna: A Woman’s Place, and Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life, both of which have become classics in mountaineering literature. During her presentation, Blum will share some of her favorite images and stories illustrating her climbs of challenging high peaks, and she will talk about her scientific research and policy work to create a healthier world.

In 1978, Blum led the first American – and first all-women’s – ascent of Annapurna I, one of the most dangerous and difficult mountains in the Himalayas. She also co-led the first women’s team to climb Denali, completed the Great Himalayan Traverse across the mountain regions of Bhutan, Nepal, and India, and hiked the length of the European Alps with her baby daughter on her back.

Blum received her PhD in biophysical chemistry from UC Berkeley, and she has taught at UC Berkeley, Stanford University, and Wellesley College. She is the Executive Director of the Green Science Policy Institute and a Research Associate in Chemistry at UC Berkeley, where she works to prevent the use of flame retardants and other harmful chemicals in children’s sleepwear, furniture, electronics, and other products world-wide.

Blum’s awards include: the 2017 International House Berkeley Alumna of the Year, the 2015 Thomas Lamb Elliot Award for lifetime achievement of a Reed College graduate, the 2014 Wheeler Medal given to the City of Berkeley’s “most useful citizen,” and the Jean and Leslie Douglas “Pearl Award” for individuals dedicated to providing a sustainable earth for future generations.” Blum was also elected to the Hall of Mountaineering Excellence. She was selected by the UK Guardian as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring women, by the National Women’s History Project as one of 100 “Women Taking the Lead to Save Our Planet,” and by the American Association for the Advancement of Science as a Fellow. She was recently inducted into the  California Hall of Fame, alongside other 2018 awardees Joan Baez, Robert Redford, and Belva Davis.

This talk is offered as part of the Heritage Resources Distinguished Speakers program, in connection with a Special Collections exhibition, “To the Mountaintop,” which explores issues of gender, race, and class in mountaineering. The event is co-sponsored by Huxley College of the Environment, the Associated Students Outdoor Center, and the Center for Canadian-American Studies. For more information contact Elizabeth Joffrion, Director of Heritage Resources, at

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What is Our Role in Creating Food Equity?

Posted on: February 11, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

The TLA Hosts Off-Campus Dialogue Session Feb. 26

What is our role in creating just and equitable food systems? Participants from the Teaching-Learning Academy (TLA) at Western Libraries invite you to explore this question during the upcoming off-campus dialogue group co-hosted by the Volunteer Center and held at the Bellingham Food Bank (1824 Ells St.), on Tuesday, Feb. 26, from 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 

This academic year, the TLA is partnering with the WWU Center for Community Learning, the Opportunity Council, and the Whatcom Volunteer Center, to host one off-campus dialogue session each quarter. The beginning of each session will feature a particular local non-profit organization, followed by small break-out groups facilitated by TLA students. The goal of these dialogues is to connect with people on topics that affect the Western community, as well as the local Bellingham community. 

“Over the years, many people have requested that the TLA host off-campus sessions to better engage students, faculty, staff, and community members,” explained Shevell Thibou, Director of the TLA. “Taking the dialogues off-campus also demonstrates that Western and the local community are not two separate circles, but rather one collective dedicated to creating an inclusive and equitable community.”

This off-campus event is open to everyone and all are welcome to attend. No advanced registration is required, but faculty and staff wishing to participate in this dialogue as part of the “Wise & Well U” program, you can sign up via the online training portal here:

For more information about the TLA, please contact (360) 650-7368.

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Speaking of Maps: "To Catch a Map Thief"

Posted on: January 24, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Speaking of Maps - "To Catch a Map Thief"

Image of a map of Washington with photo of Robert Lopresti

Retired librarian from Western Libraries Robert Lopresti will give a talk called “To Catch a Map Thief” on Wednesday, February 27 at 4 p.m. at Western Washington University in the Map Collection, located in Wilson Library Room 290.  This event is free and open to the public.

In 2006, there was a major map theft at Western Washington University.  Lopresti will talk about the two-year investigation by Western Libraries personnel that eventually drew in the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and Montana State government, resulting in the conviction of a man who had stolen publications from more than 100 libraries around the country.

Lopresti retired in 2018 after 31 years as a librarian at Western, including eight years as map librarian.  He is also an award-winning author of several scholarly articles, two novels, and more than sixty mystery and fantasy stories. Lopresti’s short stories have been finalists for the Derringer Award five times, winning three times.  He has also won the Black Orchid Novella Award, and has been reprinted in Best American Mystery Stories and Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. Lopresti’s recent work of nonfiction, When Women Didn’t Count, the Chronic Mismeasure and Marginalization of American Women in Federal Statistics, is the result of four decades of work with government publications, and won the Lane/Virginia F. Saunders Memorial Research Award in 2018.

This talk is offered as part of the Western Libraries Speaking of Maps lectures, designed to highlight the use and value of maps in research, in teaching and learning, and in daily life.

For more information about this event, please contact Dennis Matthews,, 360-650-3272.

NOTE: This is a Past Event

New Date for 'Once Upon a Time in Anatolia'

Posted on: January 24, 2019

Topic(s): Updates, Events

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, at Pickford Film Center


The next Masters of Asian Cinema film is director Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s 2011 feature, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, which screens on Tuesday, February 12th at 6:30pm  Tuesday, February 26 at 7:00 p.m. at Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay Street in Bellingham.  

Ceylan uses the loose frame of a  police procedural to peel away the layers of personality from a group of officials as they try to find a body with the help of the murderer who can't quite remember it is buried. Largely unfolding over a single evening, we gradually learn about some of these men, (particularly a prosecutor and a doctor), through their conversations. We learn something about the murderer as well, though he is largely silent. This is a nuanced and deeply humane film.

Co-sponsored by Western Libraries and the Pickford Film Center, the Masters  of Asian Cinema series continues the rich tradition that began with the Masters of Japanese Cinema series, one of the Pickford's longest running and most popular series. Each film in the Masters of Asian Cinema series begins with an introduction from select speakers including local professors, artists, and educators.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia will be introduced by Eren Odabasi, Assistant Professor of Global Cinema in the Department of English at Western Washington University. His research and teaching interests include media policy and governance, diasporic filmmakers and audiences, and auteur theory. He has presented and published several articles on film festivals and transnational film production. As a film critic, he has been writing extensively for the Turkish monthly film magazine Altyazi since 2008. In recognition of his work in film criticism, he was invited to the Talents Program of the Berlin International Film Festival twice and served as a jury member in the Semaine de la Critique section of the Cannes Film Festival in 2013.

For more information about these events, or about the Masters of Asian Cinema series, please contact